“In the world of STEAM, it’s easy to get left behind if your school district struggles financially.”
In resource-poor districts, vital STEAM resources are hard to come by
Part of the PublicSource series Failing the Future By Mary Niederberger October 18, 2018
The South Fayette School District is proud of its “STEAM Story.” In a district video, educators gently guide first graders using magnetic circuitry kits, fourth graders working with LEGO robots and seventh graders creating their own Smartphone apps. The video shows a student making musical notes by tapping a piece of cardboard connected to a computer, a group creating safety updates to a walker for the elderly and another student building a basketball trivia app. One young student featured in the video says, “I really like this technology because you get to make stuff out of it and it comes out really cool at the end.” Similarly, the Fox Chapel Area School District shares a video that features its mobile fabrication lab and stories about students using 3D printers, vinyl cutters and computerized milling CNC machines. And, in the Upper St Clair School District, the website announces that a group of middle and elementary school students are winners of a multimedia excellence award at the September World Artificial Intelligence Competition at Carnegie Mellon University.
How the debate over guns is playing out in four Pa. swing districts
In races across the state, health care is getting more attention
PA Post by Ed Mahon October 18, 2018
In a suburban Philadelphia district, advocates for tighter gun laws split with national ones over whether the incumbent Republican or his Democratic challenger would be best for their cause. In southcentral Pennsylvania, an ad showing Army veteran and Democrat George Scott burning a semi-automatic rifle helped him in his narrow primary victory in May. Now, Republicans are trying to use that same ad against him. But across the state, other issues — most notably health care — are getting more attention in campaign ads than guns. The congressional races in Pennsylvania highlights the fractured landscape for efforts to address concerns over gun violence, one year after a mass shooter in Las Vegas killed 58 people and eight months after 17 students and staff members were killed at a Florida high school.
Saving pets, slowing speeders, more: 16 bills Pa. legislators decided should become law
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | email@example.com | Posted October 19, 2018 at 05:40 AM | Updated October 19, 2018 at 06:07 AM
.Gov. Tom Wolf better limber up his hand and have a good supply of ink on hand to sign or veto the cornucopia of bills that the General Assembly sent him over the course of the past few weeks. Lawmakers were moving bills at a fast pace to avoid having them die due to inaction when the 2017-18 legislative session ends on Nov. 30. Both chambers only have one day scheduled between now and then. Much attention was paid to the heavily watched child sex crimes legislation that grew out of the grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. Work on that one didn't get completed before lawmakers went home on Wednesday. But a lot of other bills did make it to the finish line, about 90 of them. Here's a look at what 16 of them will do.
Statewide graduation requirement alternatives
This measure would give students who don't pass the Keystone Exams an alternative pathway to earn a high school diploma, starting with this year's freshman class.
“After 10 years of delay and deliberation, Pennsylvania lawmakers have finally revamped the requirements for high school graduation. Gov. Tom Wolf intends to sign the measure.”
After nearly a decade of debate, Pa. passes new graduation requirements
The measure provides alternatives to the original plan, which would have required students to pass state tests for a diploma.
WHYY NEWS Avi Wolfman-Arent October 18 — 5:56 pm, 2018
After much delay and consternation, Pennsylvania will change its high school graduation requirements. But the change won’t be as drastic as was first planned when state leaders committed to revisions nearly a decade ago. Rather than having to pass a set of exams, current freshmen will be eligible to graduate if they can check off one of several boxes, including having SAT or ACT scores above a state-set threshold; an industry certification; a full-time job offer; proof of military enrollment; or acceptance to a four-year college. Students will have to meet locally determined grade requirements in each of the subjects tested on the Keystone Exams: Algebra I, biology, and literature. Students can still pass those exams to get their diplomas or receive a composite score determined by Department of Education officials. The Pennsylvania Senate passed this new framework unanimously Monday, and Gov. Wolf quickly announced he would sign the bill. The struggle to revamp graduation requirements started in 2010.
Parents defend Central High teacher
Supporters say Tom Quinn was targeted for encouraging students to register to vote.
The notebook Commentary Rebecca Poyourow October 18 — 10:00 am, 2018
Pennsylvania Republican Party Chair Val DiGiorgio has accused Central High School teacher Tom Quinn of distributing anti-Republican material to students as an attempt at “liberal indoctrination.” DiGiorgio’s accusation triggered an exploratory investigation by the District. Quinn’s supporters say that the flier that DiGiorgio said Quinn handed out to students was actually a poster hanging in a staff office at Central High School, alongside political material of conservative viewpoints. Parents say the attack is particularly troubling because of Quinn’s position in the city as a leader of civic education. He organizes the nonpartisan Philly Youth Vote Campaign to get students ages 18 and older registered to vote. The publicity from the accusation against Quinn has led to threats against him and the students at Central High School.
Below is a commentary on this controversy from District parent Rebecca Poyourow.
Report on racism roils Main Line school district
WHYY By Avi Wolfman-Arent October 18, 2018
As Wednesday’s packed town hall would suggest, a recent report on racism in the Haverford Township School District has residents’ attention. The report, penned by a local activist group called H-CAN, detailed a series of anonymous complaints about racist language, offensive graffiti, discriminatory comments, and “microaggressions” in this upscale Delaware County suburb. It also alleged discriminatory discipline practices and bemoaned the underrepresentation of black students in advanced classes. On Wednesday, H-CAN presented its findings at a standing-room-only meeting and school district officials got a chance to respond. Though calm pervaded the town hall — perhaps because of a format that forbade testimony and required residents to ask questions via notecards — the report has clearly struck a communal nerve. In interviews afterward, some residents reaffirmed the problems outlined by H-CAN and others rebutted them, claiming the attention caused by the report and subsequent news coverage has painted the community in a false light.
Damaris Rau touts School District of Lancaster's growing dual enrollment program at State of the District Breakfast
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer October 19, 2018
Damaris Rau believes School District of Lancaster is doing great things for its students.
But doing so requires funding — and the district could use more. Superintendent Rau pitched a fundraising opportunity Thursday to state legislators, college administrators, health officials, church leaders and others at SDL’s inaugural State of the District Breakfast at the Hamilton Club building on East Orange Street. The district’s fundraising goal: $100,000, which would support its growing dual enrollment program. “The research shows that students who have a post-high school education are more likely to get a good job and improve their quality of life,” she said. “It is really important for us to increase access for all students.” Rau said the district’s dual enrollment program, which gives students the opportunity to enroll in free college courses, has grown from 22 students in 2015-16 to 297 this school year. That number, she added, should grow to about 350 students by spring.
Philly School board approves FACTS move, Solis-Cohen building funds
Board also votes on more than $12 million in contracts for supplies and equipment for school repairs.
The notebook by Darryl C. Murphy October 18 — 11:24 pm, 2018
The Board of Education approved the relocation of one school and new construction for another at Thursday night’s board meeting. The board agreed to Folk-Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School’s (FACTS) plan to move from 1023 Callowhill St. to 421 North 9th St. in the 2020-21 school year. The new location will provide 85,000 square feet of space to enable the school to grow from the current 533 students to a maximum capacity of 847 in kindergarten through eighth grade. Also at tonight’s meeting, Academy at Palumbo high school students Kamryn Sacksith and Christina Ly lambasted board members about the condition of their school building. In September, parts of the school flooded after large amounts of water built up on top of the roof and leaked into the building, causing ceilings to collapse during two rainy weekends. “When I am going to school the last thing I want to worry about is if the ceiling is going to fall on top of my head,” Sacksith said, “which has actually happened to me before.”
Here's the case for consolidating Pa's public schools | Opinion
Penn Live Guest Editorial By Colin McNickle Updated Oct 18, 8:30 AM; Posted Oct 18, 8:30 AM
Indeed, there can be concrete benefits to consolidating local school districts in Pennsylvania. But operational concerns - contractual, economic and, to some, even parochial -- stand to trump any rush to future mergers, concludes a new analysis by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy. "Given past experience, consolidations in Pennsylvania seem very unlikely," says Eric Montarti, research director at the Pittsburgh think tank (in Policy Brief Vol. 18, No. 39). "(F)ew consolidations occur because there are deep-seated local objections and serious economic reasons for not pursuing" them. The commonwealth today has 500 public school districts. But 66 years ago, in 1952, it was one of 15 states with at least 2,000 school districts. Pennsylvania's school district consolidation was driven by two legislative acts in 1960s. By 1972, the Keystone State's 2,506 districts had been whittled to 528. Those acts eventually paved the way for a reduction to 501 districts.
We followed 15 of America's teachers on a day of frustrations, pressures and hard-earned victories
USA Today This story was reported by Beatriz Alvarado, Thyrie Bland, Jason Gonzales, Leigh Guidry, Rick Hampson, Bracey Harris, Lori Higgins, Joe Hong, Austin Humphreys, Kristen Inbody, Annysa Johnson, Byron McCauley, Amanda Oglesby, Kelly Ragan, Meg Ryan, Lindsay Schnell, Devi Shastri and Alden Woods and written by Hampson, USA Today 1:02 a.m. EDT Oct. 18, 2018
It’s shortly after dawn when Edward Lawson, one of America’s 3.2 million public school teachers, pulls his car into the parking lot of Julian Thomas Elementary in Racine, Wisconsin. He cuts the engine, pulls out his cellphone and calls his principal. They begin to pray. Lawson is a full-time substitute based at a school with full-time problems: only one in 10 students are proficient in reading and math. That may be explained by the fact that 87 percent of the students are poor and one in five have a diagnosed disability. Blame for test scores, however, often settles on the people who are any school’s single-most-important influence on academic achievement – teachers. Lawson says a prayer for the coming school day. He says a prayer for the district, the students, the upcoming state tests. He says a prayer for the second-grade teacher who had emergency back surgery and for the sub taking her class. He says a prayer for all teachers – a fitting petition for a profession in crisis.
English-Learners Often Denied Full Access to STEM Education, Report Finds
Education Week By Corey Mitchell on October 18, 2018 1:25 PM
School systems across the country should do more to ensure that current and former English-language learners have access to STEM education, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds. The report is a follow-up to a 2017 study that detailed how under-resourced schools and underprepared educators hinder efforts to help students learn English. The latest study looks to build on those findings by exploring how those factors limit English-learners' access to high-quality and challenging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educational opportunities. The committee behind the report, a who's who of scholars on educational equity, English acquisition and STEM-related subjects, produced a list of 24 conclusions and seven recommendations designed to address the primary concern. The recommendations cover an array of topics, ranging from how districts can remove barriers that limit English-learner participation in STEM education to tips on developing curricula and assessments to facilitate and monitor the progress of students once they enroll in courses.
Look up in the sky this weekend for shooting stars
Orionid meteor shower will peak Sunday night
WRITTEN BY READING EAGLE THURSDAY OCTOBER 18, 2018 01:21 PM
Cloud-free conditions should allow much of the United States, including Berks County, to see this weekend's Orionid meteor shower, the first major shower of the fall. The Orionids will peak on Sunday night and into early Monday morning, AccuWeather forecasters say, but stargazers should also be able to see some meteors on both Friday night and Saturday night leading up to the shower's peak, weather permitting. "Activity is expected to be a little higher this year than in years past with 20 to 25 meteors per hour, but bright moonlight will be an issue," AccuWeather astronomy blogger Dave Samuhel said. The nearly full moon will be shining brightly in the sky for most of the night, making it harder to see some of the dimmer meteors, but it will not ruin the celestial show completely. Many people heading out to spot some shooting stars this weekend are in luck as mainly clear conditions are on tap for a large area of North America on Sunday night.
“Not only do we have a superstar lineup of keynote speakers including Diane Ravitch, Jesse Hagopian, Pasi Sahlberg, Derrick Johnson and Helen Gym, but there will be countless sessions to choose from on the issues you care about the most. We will cover all bases from testing, charters, vouchers and school funding, to issues of student privacy and social justice in schools.”
Our Public Schools Our Democracy: Our Fight for the Future
NPE / NPE Action 5th Annual National Conference
October 20th - 21st, 2018 Indianapolis, Indiana
We are delighted to let you know that you can purchase your discounted Early Bird ticket to register for our annual conference starting today. Purchase your ticket .
Early Bird tickets will be on sale until May 30 or until all are sold out, so don't wait. These tickets are a great price--$135. Not only do they offer conference admission, they also include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Please don't forget room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link . Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer based on need. Go and fill in an application. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Please join us in Indianapolis as we fight for the public schools that our children and communities deserve. Don't forget to . We can't wait to see you.
NSBA 2019 Advocacy Institute January 27-29 Washington Hilton, Washington D.C.
The upcoming midterm elections will usher in the 116th Congress at a critical time in public education. Join us at the 2019 NSBA Advocacy Institute for insight into what the new Congress will mean for your school district. And, of course, learn about techniques and tools to sharpen your advocacy skills, and prepare for effective meetings with your representatives. Save the date to join school board members from across the country on Capitol Hill to influence the new legislative agenda and shape the decisions made inside the Beltway that directly impact our students. For more information contact .
2019 NSBA Annual Conference Philadelphia March 30 - April 1, 2019
Pennsylvania Convention Center 1101 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
Registration Questions or Assistance: 1-800-950-6722
The NSBA Annual Conference & Exposition is the one national event that brings together education leaders at a time when domestic policies and global trends are combining to shape the future of the students. Join us in Philadelphia for a robust offering of over 250 educational programs, including three inspirational general sessions that will give you new ideas and tools to help drive your district forward.